Lies, damned lies and statistics

There have been many comments since I originally posted Dr Obomsawin’s original graphs and subsequent response. A lot of people are saying that we should not be looking at the death rates from infectious diseases. Rather, since vaccines are meant to prevent the diseases themselves, the incidence should be the bar we use to measure their success.

In theory, that sounds like a good idea. In actuality however, it doesn’t work.

You see, incidence tends to be a very subjective and inaccurate measure. For instance in 1998, a study was done to determine how accurately doctors were diagnosing cases of measles. It turned out that 97.5% of what doctors were calling measles wasn’t measles at all. In other words, they were only right 2.5% of the time.

97.5% of Measles Diagnoses are Incorrect

From Europe Today, April 1998 comes an interesting report about the level of error occurring in the diagnosis of measles. The feedback comes from the UK’s Public Health Laboratory Service, which found that 97.5% of the time, British doctors are wrong in their diagnosis of measles. This conclusion was reached after saliva tests were performed on 12,000 person diagnosed with measles. Roger Buttery, an advisor on transmissible diseases at the Cambridge and Huntingdon Health Department, said “a majority of doctors say they can recognize measles ‘a mile off’ but we now know that this illness occurs in only 2.5% of the cases.” If the information offered by Buttery et al. is correct, then the true incidence of measles in the UK is not the reported 6,000 per year, but more like 150.

Professor Gordon Stewart who published widely on the problems with the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s said that during the time when parents were questioning the safety of the pertussis vaccine and vaccination rates plummeted, all you needed to do was go to the doctor with a runny nose and you would be diagnosed with whooping cough.

Here in Australia, there are long periods of time – decades in some cases – where we were not tracking the incidence of these infectious diseases but were still tracking mortality. The same holds true for many other developed countries.

In addition, for many diseases, the criteria for being diagnosed with the illness includes not having received the vaccine. So if, for example, you have been vaccinated against measles and then come down with the symptoms of the disease, you are less likely to be diagnosed with measles simply because of your vaccination status even though we know that the vaccine does not provide perfect protection.

When the polio vaccine was introduced, anyone who had been vaccinated within 30 days of developing symptoms was automatically excluded. In addition, the paralysis needed to involve more limbs and last for a far longer time then had been necessary for a clinical diagnosis prior to the introduction of the polio vaccine.

Using incidence alone to determine the effectiveness of vaccination is at best inaccurate – at worst – deceptive.

Mortality statistics are more accurate

Death rates provide a much better picture of how a disease is declining over time since there is almost always some form of testing done to determine the cause of death.

And consistently, in every developed country, we see that the vast majority – 90% and more – of the death rate from these diseases occurred before the introduction of the vaccines to prevent them. Even antibiotics didn’t seem to do much to prevent these deaths. It seems that engineers had far more to do with the decline in mortality and morbidity in the first half of the 20th century than doctors.

Please view the following graphs from New Zealand and ask yourself why we are still being told that the vaccines for measles, pertussis or diphtheria had any effect at all in reducing deaths from these diseases:

There are many similar graphs from medical journals that demonstrate the same exact trends – high levels of mortality or morbidity in the 1800s declining through the first half of the 1900s to the point where vaccines were introduced when they were historically already at their lowest level.

Please see the following graph from What is the evidence for a causal link between hygiene and infections?; Allison E Aiello and Elaine L Larson; THE LANCET Infectious Diseases Vol 2 February 2002; http://infection.thelancet.com. The US made vaccination compulsory in 1978. As you can see, vaccination had nothing to do with the massive decline in mortality from infectious diseases.

Please note the increase in mortality from the early 1980s. Much of this increase is from HIV AIDS mortality. Ironically, this may be the one way in which vaccinations have influenced infectious disease mortality – by the increase in deaths from AIDS – a disease which may have had its origin in contaminated vaccines. (http://www.uow.edu.au/~bmartin/dissent/documents/AIDS/refs.html)

The following information which shows a very similar trend is from Trends in Infectious Disease Mortality in the United States During the 20th Century; Gregory L. Armstrong; Laura A. Conn; Robert W. Pinner; JAMA. 1999;281(1):61-66

Is this evidence that vaccines were involved in any way with the decline in these diseases? With the exception of polio (which is another story because the diagnostic criteria for polio changed as soon as the vaccine was licensed, leading to a huge decline in cases virtually overnight) it is obvious that vaccinations had NOTHING to do with the improvement in infectious diseases statistics for the last 100 years.

Those critics who have been talking about the gap in Dr Obomsawin’s graph and the smoothing of his lines are trying to put up a smoke screen to hide what the can’t dispute – the fact that the scientific evidence demonstrates very clearly that vaccinations did not cause the decline in deaths from infectious diseases that the Western world experienced over the last 100 years or more.

One has to wonder whether, were we to export the technology for clean water, efficient food growth and proper sanitation to developing countries instead of vaccines, we might see the sharp decline in deaths from these diseases there as well?

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43 thoughts on “Lies, damned lies and statistics

  1. Pingback: Reducing the incidence of grand claims « No Compulsory Vaccination

  2. “Is there more rape in sub-Saharan Africa than in Boston, Stockholm, Singapore or Melbourne? Almost certainly.”

    You somehow interpret that as me saying that rape is no higher in South Africa than elsewhere.

    The question was is there a sensible explanation for the prevalence of AIDS in Africa amongst the heterosexual non-IV drug users? Of course my statement “they spend their entire lives raping virgins” was an exaggeration of their claim – that was precisely the point. Surely that was obvious to all and sundry. Given what (the mainstream AIDS scientists) think they know about the ability of the disease to be transmitted through heterosexual contact, Africans would have to be unbelievably promiscuous. Indeed, given the results of Padian’s own study, Africans would quite literally have to spend their lives having sex with a different partner every few minutes (and no that is not an exaggeration) to have the AIDS rates they do. If you look at the explanations given for the prevalence of AIDS in Africa rape (including virgin rape) figures highly. I blended the two premises together (ie that a) rape (including virgin rape) is common in Africa and b) you need to have an unbelievable amount of sexual partners to have significant HIV transmission) to make it clear how unbelievably ridiculous the story was. So yes, the mainstream scientists never say that Africans spend their entire lives raping virgins. When I state it like I that it appears completely ridiculous – because it is – but I am only following their own arguments to their logical conclusions.

    How was none of this obvious?

    And Greg has already pointed out how useless your references about virus infections are. Why don’t you just call them proteins or really small things instead of viruses? The statement would be equally true. You use the word virus in an attempt to provide the connotation that it is pathogenic – even though it isn’t and therefore proves absolutely nothing. All we get out of it is that small things can enter slightly larger things. You may as well show me someone stepping into a car and declaring that as proof that humans cause car rust. Actually, the syllogism isn’t even that good, more like someone stepping into a car and declaring it as proof that chimpanzees causes engine failure on planes. And if science has “moved on” then there must have been some evidence left from whence it came. Why not just provide that? Of course we both know the answer.

    “Evidence comes from a wide variety of disciplines to all support the same answer.” I don’t have a problem with that, I just don’t see any evidence for the germ theory. I can see it for evolution but not the germ theory. But at any rate your entire argument is completely backward. It is OK to say that the evidence has convinced the experts and here it is:… It is not OK to say that the evidence has convinced the experts and must be good but I can’t for the life of me find it.

    “In maths, think of Fermat’s Last Theorem or the Poincare Conjecture. I assure you you will not understand the proofs for either of them, which are built upon decades of other mathematicians’ work. I imagine many maths lecturers would have trouble following them.”

    Good analogy except that a) neither of these is the basis for a multi-trillion dollar corporate and government behemoth; b) even if most people don’t understand the proof at the very least it is there and one could, if one actually cared, take the time to learn enough about maths to debunk it (assuming it was wrong); and perhaps most importantly ) anybody who is skeptical about it isn’t accused of being a witch or a threat to people’s children etc.

    Having said that, in stark contrast to my willingness to take the challenge of swallowing germs, if you wanted me to put my life in the hands of their truth (based purely on other people’s certification of the proof) – I would be very nervous.

    So basically your analogy is completely irrelevant.

  3. Punter,

    > Ummm, the notion that I extrapolated from South Africa all of Africa
    > is pretty ridiculous when the second link clearly talks about
    > sub-Saharan Africa. I even quoted the relevant bit.

    But before that, you gave no link and just referred to Africa. Hence my just wanting to confirm that we were only talking about South Africa. Even South Africa is still only a small part of sub-Saharan Africa.

    > I will grant that I could have initially specified sub-Saharan
    > Africa, but given that there is no perceived AIDS crisis in Egypt I
    > thought it was OK to leave that unspecified.

    Egypt? Egypt plus South Africa together only make up a small part of Africa as a whole. Why mention Egypt only to represent the rest of Africa? Egypt may not have an AIDS crisis, but other parts of Africa do. Why mention the sub-Saharan when this includes most of Africa whereas South Africa only includes a small proportion? Bah, no need to answer, this is all side-tracking.

    > Indeed, the second link doesn’t refer specifically to teenagers
    > either so it destroys that argument of yours.

    So you think you can “destroy” my argument by referring to an article that doesn’t refer to something? Even though I referred to articles that did mention the association with youth? You’re wrong anyway as your article DOES refer to age: “Gang rape — referred to as jackrolling — has become a youth-cult in South Africa”.

    > You were shown to be wrong, yet again,

    When? I never said that rape wasn’t a likely cause for the spread of AIDS in South Africa (although you said Africa, a region more than ten times the size). I just said that I hadn’t heard it, and asked for a reference. I also questioned your representation of the facts, and was right to do so, since nowhere does it say that “Africans spent their entire lives raping virgins”. It was this ridiculous exaggeration that I was referring to as a punterism. Agreed it appears that the culture of rape is a huge problem there, but no one’s saying that all Africans spend their whole lives doing it.

    > and so you seamlessly then said that the whole African rape thing is
    > a perfectly reasonable explanation. Tell me, other than the word of
    > wiki, what evidence do you have that Africans are significantly more
    > promiscuous than Westerners?

    So you’re seriously suggesting now that rape is not even a problem in South Africa? You basically reject every piece of information you ever come across if it doesn’t sit well with your unshakable worldview. I’m not going to stray so far from the topic of vaccines as to go searching for evidence against your belief that presumably a global conspiracy has concocted and maintained this story that rape is a big problem in South Africa just to find an excuse for the spread of a disease. There are only so many wild goose chases I can go on, especially when no evidence I provided would ever be enough for you.

    How could such a conspiracy ever be maintained, across nations, across industries, across politics and science, the biggest coverup of all time, and not one leak ever (unlike so many other much smaller real conspiracies that may take place within a single business)?

    > I have seen surveys that have shown that they are actually less
    > promiscuous than most Europeans.

    How was promiscuity measured? Promiscuity and rape aren’t exactly the same thing, and the motives are quite different. But as I said, I’d rather not be drawn into something so ridiculous and irrelevant.

    > But I am sorry. Fancy dismissing such a brilliant piece of logic as
    > “a president who’s an AIDS denialist”. Clearly having such a thing
    > would immediately raise the number of people with AIDS ten-fold. The
    > connection is so obvious – I just can’t believe I didn’t see it.

    Your arguments often seem to boil down to “I don’t understand this, therefore it’s not true”. The president obviously has a lot of say about public health policy, which medications are promoted, which are not, what to do to prevent the spread of disease, etc. If the whole country’s policy for preventing and treating AIDS is influenced strongly by someone who dismisses the science about it, then of course this could have dire consequences.

    > As for your research showing viruses infecting a cell. Shouldn’t you
    > be asking yourself these questions: Why is this the best I can do?
    > How could it possibly be that I have searched far and wide and found
    > precisely nothing that actually demonstrates the germ theory and I
    > am left to ambiguous ‘scraps’ instead?

    It’s not that I searched far and wide, it’s just that this particular story came my way and it seemed relevant. I guess you need to see it as an “ambiguous scrap” in order to dismiss it, but the point is that research has gone far beyond the basic germ theory. Such research relies on the germ theory to work, plus many other things, and the results are undeniable. They relied on viruses infecting cells as understood by previous science, and the achieved the result they were after. How did this happen if their basic premise was wrong? I’m sure you can concoct something post-hoc :-)

    So just for you, I did a quick google image search for “virus infecting cell” (something I guess you never tried) and found various photos of viruses infecting cells. Images you have claimed repeatedly don’t exist. There are such photos on each of these pages:

    http://viromag.wordpress.com/2009/03/13/bacteriophages-viruses-of-bacteria/
    http://kentsimmons.uwinnipeg.ca/cm1504/dna.htm
    http://www.dform.com/projects/t4/virus.html
    http://idol.union.edu/malekis/ESC24/Seyffie%27s%20Pages/Imaging/Imaging.htm
    http://cultandpaste.com/2009/03/16/the-virus-that-cures/
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060126192058.htm

    I suspect you will complain because you personally don’t understand what you’re looking at, so it can’t be true.

    > Why on earth do these brilliant scientists not just put the ‘proofs’
    > up for everyone to see like mathematicians or physicists or
    > chemists?

    As with much science about complex things, a consensus is reached within the scientific community only after much mutually-supporting evidence is found and predictions confirmed. There is no simple “proof” for evolution, for example. Evidence comes from a wide variety of disciplines to all support the same answer. It’s the same with the germ theory of disease. In maths, think of Fermat’s Last Theorem or the Poincare Conjecture. I assure you you will not understand the proofs for either of them, which are built upon decades of other mathematicians’ work. I imagine many maths lecturers would have trouble following them. Yet we accept them because we know that there’s no dispute about them between the experts who really are able to follow this stuff. Is that an appeal to authority? To rely on the world’s collective experts on a topic, rather than your own individual uneducated opinion? In answer to your question, the evidence is there, you are just largely unaware of it, and dismissive of the little you do know.

    > And finally, why do the scientists let me do all the work?

    Groan.

  4. Ummm, the notion that I extrapolated from South Africa all of Africa is pretty ridiculous when the second link clearly talks about sub-Saharan Africa. I even quoted the relevant bit. I will grant that I could have initially specified sub-Saharan Africa, but given that there is no perceived AIDS crisis in Egypt I thought it was OK to leave that unspecified.

    Indeed, the second link doesn’t refer specifically to teenagers either so it destroys that argument of yours. Of course I am not saying that you think this is true, but that was never my argument. What I said was that an excuse given for the fact that so many heterosexual Africans have AIDS despite its rarity in the corresponding populations in the West is because there is so much rape there. That is an excuse given and I have absolutely no idea why you were arguing about it. You were shown to be wrong, yet again, and so you seamlessly then said that the whole African rape thing is a perfectly reasonable explanation. Tell me, other than the word of wiki, what evidence do you have that Africans are significantly more promiscuous than Westerners? I have seen surveys that have shown that they are actually less promiscuous than most Europeans. Of course surveys aren’t worth much. But neither is the word of doctors/aid workers who have 100s of billions of dollars and an enormous amount of political capital invested in this belief. So until I see actual reasonable evidence that that is in fact the case I will continue to believe that the notion that Africans (sub-Saharan if you want to be more specific) are significantly more promiscuous than any other group of people is, like every other aspect of the germ theory/vaccination paradigm, completely made up. It has absolutely no foundation and I strongly suspect that part of the reason that people find it so easy to believe is because of their inherent racism – hence why I called it disgustingly racist (personally I believe we are all racist – I am not judging people by their innate feelings, but basing a 100 billion industry on these feelings is not what I deem to be particularly wise). Is there more rape in sub-Saharan Africa than in Boston, Stockholm, Singapore or Melbourne? Almost certainly. But in order for HIV to spread in Africa in the way it supposedly has rape (well actually, promiscuity) would have to be unbelievably commonplace.

    It is true that I dismiss ridiculous arguments like “social stigma relating to condom use and admitting to HIV” do the writers of this Wiki have any idea whatsoever about the stigma on condom use or admitting to HIV in Africa relative to the Western world? Did you know that many STDs in the West are supposedly on the increase http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/sexually-transmitted-disease-rates-skyrocketing-20100528-wip5.html. Of course I don’t believe that condoms stop STDs, but presumably you do, in which case don’t you find it surprising then that our supposedly very high condom use is enough to keep HIV at bay but is doing nothing to stem other STDs?

    But I am sorry. Fancy dismissing such a brilliant piece of logic as “a president who’s an AIDS denialist”. Clearly having such a thing would immediately raise the number of people with AIDS ten-fold. The connection is so obvious – I just can’t believe I didn’t see it.

    “Lack of availability of treatments” – I don’t believe in any of this ridiculous HIV=AIDS theory, but surely if the treatments were successful at keeping people alive and well then wouldn’t that lead to greater rates of transmission? Presumably dead people can’t pass on a supposedly venereal disease. I suppose the drugs may lower rates of transmission (which is often claimed), but how would you know which factor is of the most importance?

    And what infrastructure helps prevent the spread of HIV? I would have thought that infrastructure such as roads, bridges etc would enable people to move around faster and have more sex with more, presumably, virgins in more spread out locations. Of course they might be referring to hospitals, but why would putting people with contagious diseases with other sick people reduce the spread of something. They might be talking about forced quarantining, but I didn’t realise we did this in the West. Presumably the skeptics would love it if we did, not being big fans of freedom and all, but I am pretty sure such things are rare and hardly seem like an explanation as to why AIDS is so rare amongst non-IV drug using, non homosexual populations.

    So that is why I dismissed them. Because they are so ridiculously tenuous. The only way you could possibly think they have any weight is because you desperately wanted them too.

    As for your research showing viruses infecting a cell. Shouldn’t you be asking yourself these questions: Why is this the best I can do? How could it possibly be that I have searched far and wide and found precisely nothing that actually demonstrates the germ theory and I am left to ambiguous ‘scraps’ instead? Why on earth do these brilliant scientists not just put the ‘proofs’ up for everyone to see like mathematicians or physicists or chemists? And finally, why do the scientists let me do all the work?

  5. Whoa Robert

    A president who’s an AIDS-denialist?? What does that mean? Is that someone who denies AIDS? Like denies that it exists or something? Cause that’s what it sounds like.

  6. Hey Punter,

    > … demolishing the skeptics’ arguments is child’s play

    I agree that your arguments are somewhat child-like :-)

    > I know for a fact that you came on here to persuade us

    I’m not sure I ever would have ended up here if I hadn’t seen fellow skeptics making some claims about Meryl that I didn’t agree with. I’ve heard stuff about the vaccine debate for a long time, but didn’t really want to get involved. I came to ask Meryl about a few of the non-vaccine related claims aimed at her, to better understand where she was coming from. But I quickly got sucked into the debate once I saw some of the stuff written here.

    But you seem to know my mine better than me, so who knows.

    > and you started out with the idea that the burden of proof was on
    > you to persuade us not the other way round.

    Burden of proof shifts depending on the situation. If I come here and want to convince anyone of anything, yeah I need to present evidence for my case. If you want to convince me of anything, then you need to provide the evidence. On a world-scale, your point of view is in contradiction to the established science, so again, you would have to be the one to provide the evidence. I don’t think I’ve changed my view on this at any point.

    > As for giving the evidence for it why on earth would I bother?

    Same reason you bother to reply at all I guess, and for the sake of third party fence-sitters listening in.

    > If you know it isn’t true then why would you care?

    I care because I want to see all the evidence from both sides.

    > And I know exactly why you and everybody else (without exception)
    > who believes in vaccinations believe the things you do. Your
    > overwhelming blind faith in authority and whatever they arbitrarily
    > deem to be “science”.

    For the most part, yes I trust that theories which have managed to achieve vast scientific consensus, and not just stood the test of time and subsequent new discoveries, but grown through it, are likely to be largely on the right track. I trust science because they do not claim to have the authority to decide what’s true, rather they figure out what’s true based on evidence, and contrary to what you seem to think, nothing is dogma, nothing is unchallengable. They don’t “arbitrarily deem” things to be true. What do you think they do all day? Play Tetris and laze around doing nothing?

    Science grows and expands, based on all that we’ve learnt so far. It wouldn’t get far if those foundations were just made up. Viruses are used in all sorts of clever ways now, eg to get genetic material into cells etc. None of this would work if viruses didn’t infect cells. Here’s just one interesting example of such research:

    That research is based partly on the assumption that viruses infect cells, and it worked. You complained before about no one having filmed a virus infecting a cell, presumably suggesting that it doesn’t happen, so how would you explain this kind of research working?

    > You claim that I am the one saying everything is black and white but
    > aren’t you skeptics the ones who have such trouble with what this
    > organisation does because you are so sure that vaccinations are
    > wonderful and safe? But here you are saying that well, in actual
    > fact, things aren’t black and white. Surely if things aren’t always
    > black and white then what the AVN does must, according to you, be a
    > valuable service?
    > … your “everything is grey” philosophy …

    I’ve already answered this, but I’ll do it again. I never said that EVERYTHING was grey. I just pointed out that you often turned grey issues into black and white ones, and this is the source of some of your errors. Some things are true or false, with a black and white answer. Other things are measured on a scale, and you would be in error to insist they be at one end or the other end of the scale. Whether vaccines work, at all, is a matter of true or false. They either do (to some degree), or they don’t. You could measure how effective they are on a scale, but the question of whether they are effective at all is a binary issue. And I would say that the science is black and white about the answer to that question.

    The irony here (as with last time you did it), is that you are making your black and white mistake again right here, by presuming that I must see EVERYTHING as shades of grey, and thus the AVN must have some merit. And after setting up another strawman, you then of course you conclude that I am contradicting myself.

    I should remind you that when I originally wrote that you made the mistake of misinterpreting things as black and white, it was in cases where you were demonstrably wrong about something. I think it started in this thread:

    http://avn.org.au/nocompulsoryvaccination/?p=771&cpage=3#comment-3817

    You made various naive mistakes in your understanding of the current scientific view of how the immune system works. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” as the quote goes, and you knew just enough to jump to false conclusions about the rest. You’ve made a big deal about this “black and white” thing, but I was merely pointing out your errors about a few specific things.

    > I admit that you have admonished skeptics but you certainly haven’t
    > as far as I can tell told them that the AVN is a fantastic
    > organisation simply providing the other side of a debate which,

    I call it as I see it. Being an emotional issue (childrens lives at stake), I’ve seen emotional and irrational attacks from both sides.

    > So tell me, once and for all, is this whole ranting against seeing
    > things as black and white just an excuse for the failings in your
    > arguments or do you plan on applying it consistently (not a word I
    > would commonly associate with the skeptics).

    After my explanation above, I hope you can see that there’s nothing inconsistent here?

    > And my problem has never been making clinical diagnoses. Now that is
    > a straw man. My problem has been the fact that the clinical
    > diagnoses have been biased and are therefore useless when trying to
    > use them to analyse vaccine efficacy.

    Hang on, you’re saying that you’ve got no problem with clinical diagnoses, but you’re also saying that they’re useless for the purpose at hand? Um, that’s pretty much what I mean by you having a problem with them. I know you like to recycle my arguments against me, but if that’s a strawman, you’ll have to explain how.

    > there is an additional bias whereby diagnoses that were previously
    > solely clinical are now lab based which has dramatically reduced the
    > amount of actual cases.

    I agree, that will change the baseline for diagnosed cases. Of course, unless this occurs at the same time as a vaccine is introduced, then you can’t use it to explain the drop in notified cases at that point. It does make long-term trends a bit harder to guage, but if a new improved diagnostic tool is available, then of course it’s going to be used (and yes, I know you doubt the “improved” part, I’m just saying why it would be introduced). Hopefully the “bias” is towards more accurate figures. Obviously any studies looking at long-term trneds will have to take this sort of thing into account (and they seem to).

    > I know absolutely everything there is to know about your beliefs
    > the foundation (or lack thereof) for them. You know absolutely
    > nothing about mine.

    Ha, hilarious :-) Need I say it? Black and white?

    > “First time I’ve ever heard that argument. Sounds like a punterism
    > to me (a black and white exaggeration of what was really said,
    > setting up a strawman argument that’s more easily refuted). No
    > mention of rape on wikipedia’s entry about the spread of AIDS in
    > Africa:
    > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Africa#Causes_and_Spread_of_Disease”
    >
    > http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/264771
    >
    > including this little tidbit: “The latest reports from the Medical
    > Research Council, Medicins Sans Frontieres and the Treatment Action
    > Campaign warn that most of the child-bearing age population of South
    > Africa is now being infected with HIV-AIDS because of the rape
    > epidemic.”

    OK, looks like you were partly right, and thanks for the reference. Now what you said originally was this:

    > when the disgustingly racist (not to mention completely ridiculous)
    > explanation given for this anomaly was that Africans spent their
    > entire lives raping virgins

    So you exaggerated South Africa to Africa in general (it seems the rape problem is by far worst in South Africa). The problem is specifically with groups of youths, which you exaggerated to “spent their entire lives” and you seem to think all Africans are involved. I’m confused about how you see something racist here. Are you suggesting that there is no epidemic of rape in South Africa? If there is, how is it racist to point it out? Obviously for those of us who believe HIV is (predominantly) transmitted sexually and is the cause of AIDS, then a country with very high incidence of rape is likely to see much more spread of the disease, which is indeed what we see. Which bit is racist?

    > At any rate, do you actually have any plausible explanations as to
    > why HIV/AIDS is so common in Africa but so uncommon in the Western
    > world (outside of homosexuals and IV drug users)? Certainly your
    > wiki reference had absolutely nothing that could plausibly explain
    > the vast difference.

    The wiki page has a whole section on possible factors. I guess you dismiss anything that doesn’t support your beliefs. Social stigma relating to condom use and admitting to HIV, a president who’s an AIDS-denialist, lack of availability of treatments, lack of infrastructure and resources to keep the spread under control, etc etc.

  7. I only went into the long rant because demolishing the skeptics’ arguments is child’s play so I thought I would do something a little more challenging like long range psychological diagnosis. At any rate everything I said still stands because I know for a fact that you came on here to persuade us and you started out with the idea that the burden of proof was on you to persuade us not the other way round. As for giving the evidence for it why on earth would I bother? If you know it isn’t true then why would you care? But it really doesn’t matter.

    And I know exactly why you and everybody else (without exception) who believes in vaccinations believe the things you do. Your overwhelming blind faith in authority and whatever they arbitrarily deem to be “science”.

    I will say though, I have mentioned your chutzpah before. But here is another example of it. You claim that I am the one saying everything is black and white but aren’t you skeptics the ones who have such trouble with what this organisation does because you are so sure that vaccinations are wonderful and safe? But here you are saying that well, in actual fact, things aren’t black and white. Surely if things aren’t always black and white then what the AVN does must, according to you, be a valuable service?

    But no, basically, according to you, things are sufficiently grey such that you are able to paper over any of the inconsistencies and implausibilities in your paradigm, however, presumably things are sufficiently clear such that it is perfectly acceptable for a group of people to use government coercion to shut down an organisation devoted to providing the other side of the debate. Now if you care to apply your “everything is grey” philosophy consistently shouldn’t you be far more concerned about what SAVN is doing than what AVN is doing? I admit that you have admonished skeptics but you certainly haven’t as far as I can tell told them that the AVN is a fantastic organisation simply providing the other side of a debate which, according to you, must not be considered in black and white terms (in order to avoid a “punterism”) and therefore the other side absolutely must be heard.

    So tell me, once and for all, is this whole ranting against seeing things as black and white just an excuse for the failings in your arguments or do you plan on applying it consistently (not a word I would commonly associate with the skeptics).

    And my problem has never been making clinical diagnoses. Now that is a straw man. My problem has been the fact that the clinical diagnoses have been biased and are therefore useless when trying to use them to analyse vaccine efficacy. This is true. In addition to this there is an additional bias whereby diagnoses that were previously solely clinical are now lab based which has dramatically reduced the amount of actual cases. Now if you want to admonish me for only discussing in detail one of the reasons for the bias in the statistics then fair enough. But I can’t for the life of me see how the fact that there is another cause of bias in the stats helps in your arguments at all. And this is why I went on the rant. You are clutching at straws. More concerned about scoring trivial points than constructing a good argument as to why anybody should go and get their kids injected with poisons.

    “First time I’ve ever heard that argument. Sounds like a punterism to me (a black and white exaggeration of what was really said, setting up a strawman argument that’s more easily refuted). No mention of rape on wikipedia’s entry about the spread of AIDS in Africa:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Africa#Causes_and_Spread_of_Disease

    And here is why there is such an asymmetry in our arguments. I know absolutely everything there is to know about your beliefs and the foundation (or lack thereof) for them. You know absolutely nothing about mine. Try this one:

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/264771 including this little tidbit: “The latest reports from the Medical Research Council, Medicins Sans Frontieres and the Treatment Action Campaign warn that most of the child-bearing age population of South Africa is now being infected with HIV-AIDS because of the rape epidemic.”

    Oh and there is another wiki article that says it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misconceptions_about_HIV_and_AIDS “The myth that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS is prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa.[4][5][6] Sex with an uninfected virgin does not cure an HIV-infected person, and such contact will expose the uninfected individual to HIV, potentially further spreading the disease. This myth has gained considerable notoriety as the perceived reason for certain sexual abuse and child molestation occurrences, including the rape of infants, in Africa.[4][5]

    At any rate, do you actually have any plausible explanations as to why HIV/AIDS is so common in Africa but so uncommon in the Western world (outside of homosexuals and IV drug users)? Certainly your wiki reference had absolutely nothing that could plausibly explain the vast difference.

    Now you see why I had the rant. Everything else is just too easy. If I were you I would spend a year or so doing solid research and then, if you still have questions, come back and ask us. However, I really hope you continue as you have been though.

  8. punter,

    > You said before that the germ theory must be true because it is 150
    > years old

    No. “Ancient wisdom” is certainly something most skeptics would see as a red flag. This is where a lot of modern pseudo-science comes from, the idea that people long ago had some mystical insight into how things work that we have lost today, hence we should all treat ourselves with ancient remedies.

    What I would say is that, like evolution, germ theory has survived 150 years of scientific scrutiny and rather than being disproved it has grown and deepened, with more recent discoveries serving to explain it in more detail rather than finding it lacking. Surviving 150 years in science is worth a lot more than surviving 2000 years in popular culture.

    > when the disgustingly racist (not to mention completely ridiculous)
    > explanation given for this anomaly was that Africans spent their
    > entire lives raping virgins

    First time I’ve ever heard that argument. Sounds like a punterism to me (a black and white exaggeration of what was really said, setting up a strawman argument that’s more easily refuted). No mention of rape on wikipedia’s entry about the spread of AIDS in Africa:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Africa#Causes_and_Spread_of_Disease

    OK, onto your long rant about your deep insight into my psyche:

    > Now I think I understand where you are coming from but tell me if I
    > am wrong on any of this.

    Will do.

    > You came on this site thinking, like all the skeptics do, that you
    > would dazzle us with your brilliance and we, the ignorant fools,
    > would have no answers.

    Wrong. I doubt many (or any) skeptics expect to dazzle pseudo-scientific thinkers with their brilliance. We know you’ve made up your mind. And we know you’ll always have an answer for everything.

    In fact I came to this site initially because I DISAGREED with what some skeptics were saying about Meryl. I followed the evidence and found some personal criticisms were unfounded, and came here to ask her about it directly. I’ll happily criticise skeptics if they fall into the very traps we’re supposed to avoid.

    > Unfortunately you discovered that in actual fact you, along with
    > your buddies, were flying blind.

    I don’t think so. I think I’ve pointed out some clearly false things in what you’ve said, but you leave them by the wayside or brush them aside somehow. I’ve certainly pointed out some clearly false things in some of what Meryl’s said, but you and Greg are a little more consistent at least in what you say. And I hope I’ve demolished that terrible notification graph of Dr. Obomsawin. No one has dared respond to my article about it. The meat of the debate is more involved though, and harder to nail. To some extent our mutual lack of a medical background means we are both flying sight-impaired :-) (Except of course that you understand science better than the scientists).

    > You discovered that all this time we were the ones asking all the
    > questions which have never been answered and that the only thing you
    > guys have going for you is your popularity.

    No, I haven’t “discovered” that.

    > This greatly troubled you initially and you scoured the internet
    > looking for sensible explanations as to why our points were wrong
    > and found nothing plausible.

    I haven’t been “greatly troubled”, but thanks for your concern. Yes, not having a medical background I’ve done a lot of scouring the internet, and come back with a lot of answers. There are still things I’d like answers to, but only so much time I can spare.

    > Most of your brethren criticised you for even asking.

    You keep saying that. Didn’t I ask for a reference for that? Some skeptics, like all people, are quick to respond defensively if they feel you are going against what they hold to be true. But I don’t recall being criticised terribly strongly, so I ask again for the reference, since you’re keeping better track of my internet prescence than I am.

    > And you realised that you would never be able to provide any
    > evidence that would be persuasive to those who were already
    > skeptical (in the proper sense of the term)

    No, I knew all along that no amount of evidence was likely to persuade those who believed.

    > so you had a choice: Either change your mind or continue believing
    > what you do despite all evidence to the contrary.

    I’ve yet to see any real evidence to the contrary. You have a hypothesis based on doctors being extremely biased. OK, so where’s the evidence that this is the case? Greg just forwarded a paper, so I’ll check that out, but otherwise I’ve seen nothing to back this claim up, other than the instinctive pleading that surely they must be biased. Then there’s the argument that vaccines studies never use a true placebo. I’m not convinced this is actually true, but even if it is then studies have failed to find any problem with the tiny amounts of aluminium etc found in vaccines (or presumably their placebos), and how these trace elements are supposed to lead to just as many cases of the specific disease being studied in the placebo group is beyond me.

    > So you changed tack and stopped trying to persuade us why you were
    > right and instead told us that the onus of proof was on us and we
    > were duty bound to convince you.

    My point is not that it’s up to you to prove it to me. If it’s your claim, then yes it’s up to you to justify it. But more importantly, if you wish to change the world’s mind, then you obviously need undeniable evidence. This is how things change in science, and I’m amazed that you have no desire to do what’s required to convince the world of what you believe. And until you really have the evidence, you shouldn’t even be so sure yourself.

    > when Meryl posted this story, instead of coming to the sensible
    > conclusion that measles diagnoses are much lower now as a result of
    > lab diagnosis rather than clinical ones you came to the conclusion
    > that this somehow proved that doctors themselves have no bias and
    > that therefore every single statistic relating to the fall in these
    > diseases can be trusted with absolute confidence!

    It seems even Meryl didn’t come to the “sensible” conclusion. This article says:

    “It turned out that 97.5% of what doctors were calling measles wasn’t measles at all”

    To reach that conclusion Meryl has decided to trust lab tests in order to discredit doctors. My reply was doing the same as her, presuming that lab tests were more reliable than doctors. But yes of course if you discard germ theory then it’s a different story. Although weirdly now you seem to be lamenting the loss of clinical diagnoses, even though these are what you’ve been complaining about up till now. I guess you see doctors’ diagnoses as extremely biased, and lab tests as even worse.

    > of course the straw you clutch the tightest of all is the fact that
    > the authorities agree with you and they would never make such an
    > enormous mistake. Would they?

    I believe science is right about this, yes. But you know, we love it when science is wrong! It means we’ve learnt something new, and maybe a new avenue for research has opened up. But I do think germ theory has been too well studied from all directions to simply be discarded wholesale. I can’t think of any science that was so well-established and later discarded, and certainly not displaced by people without a background in the relevant science.

    So please avoid sharing your insights into my psyche in the future. Almost every word was wrong, and it’s an irrelevant side-track and waste of my time. I see this sort of thing all the time from both sides of such arguments. Yes, it frustrates me when skeptics do it too. It happens because people from either side just can’t imagine how someone could possibly believe what the other side believes, unless they are desperate and knwo how fragile their house of cards is. But such musings are almost always misguided.

    Rob.

  9. Robert, thanks again for your elucidation of the glories of the sciences – very moving. And yet, again, completely pointless. There is no use in defending vaccinations on the basis that they are scientific and scientific things are good because they work when I have made it clear so often that I don’t believe vaccinations work. So in my mind, either vaccinations aren’t science or science often doesn’t work. Rgardless, your argument is pointless.

    And would you stop telling me that I need to understand the process. I understand it better than every single one of your skeptic friends – which to be fair isn’t hard – and I have asked you to explain why vaccinations should be considered as being part of the scientific process (preferably avoiding begging the question by assuming that they work). You haven’t. And no I don’t call SCIENCE the church of poisoning and disfigurement. You embody the absolute best of all the skeptics Robert – by miles. And yet even you, as you have shown time and time again, are completely entranced by authority. It is fair to say then that calling allopathic medicine a church is much more accurate than calling it a science. I only feel bad about doing so because I quite like the actual church (although I am a non-believer). But allopathic medicine is, essentially, poisoning and disfigurement. And it is clear that it is about faith not reason because even its more credible supporters are obsessed with the notion that something must be true because everybody else believes it. And by the way, you said before that the germ theory must be true because it is 150 years old – can you please verify that all of your views are in complete accordance with every belief that has been around that long (or longer)? (That would include of course the non-belief in the germ theory). You see this is the problem with relying on appeals to authority/popularity. You invariably end up tying yourself up in knots with your ‘logic’.

    And no Robert you are right, the lack of improvements in life expectancy in Africa don’t PROVE that vaccines are useless. However, that situation represents what could be reasonably called a control situation and no positive argument could possibly be drawn for vaccinations from it. So it requires an explanation of some sort (you know, like how you expect me to provide an explanation for virtually everything that has ever happened in history relating to disease). You could say it is just an outlier – but you haven’t provided any other similar ‘control’ situations which point to the efficacy of vaccinations to make such a claim. You might say that the stats on life expectancy or living conditions in Africa are wrong for some reason, you might say that Africans haven’t actually received an increase in vaccinations. All of these might be valid. But without any sort of explanation one would have to think that in the one semi-controlled experiment that we know of, vaccinations have failed dismally (ie if they have any sort of positive effect at all it clearly can’t be significant). So does it prove anything? No. But it doesn’t seem like the sort of thing to be dismissed with simple hand-waving either (the same thing you – astonishingly – accused me of before (again I greatly admire your chutzpah)).
    And by the way, you do understand that if you don’t believe in the germ theory then you couldn’t possibly believe that HIV causes AIDS right? I understand that logical consistency is irrelevant to those who think that injecting poisons into babies will make them healthy but when I demonstrated why the germ theory was implausible (at least in my mind) I obviously, by extension, showed that HIV couldn’t possibly cause AIDS. In fact it was the lunacy of the HIV=AIDS paradigm that started me down the path of questioning the germ theory/vaccination paradigm. I always thought it made no sense that there were so few heterosexuals with the disease in Western countries but the disease seemed to transmit differently the moment it entered poorer countries. And when the disgustingly racist (not to mention completely ridiculous) explanation given for this anomaly was that Africans spent their entire lives raping virgins it was hard not to come to the conclusion that the whole thing was a complete sham – at least I would have thought anybody outside the Ku Klux Klan would see through it.

    Now I think I understand where you are coming from but tell me if I am wrong on any of this. You came on this site thinking, like all the skeptics do, that you would dazzle us with your brilliance and we, the ignorant fools, would have no answers. Unfortunately you discovered that in actual fact you, along with your buddies, were flying blind. You discovered that all this time we were the ones asking all the questions which have never been answered and that the only thing you guys have going for you is your popularity. This greatly troubled you initially and you scoured the internet looking for sensible explanations as to why our points were wrong and found nothing plausible. Most of your brethren criticised you for even asking. And you realised that you would never be able to provide any evidence that would be persuasive to those who were already skeptical (in the proper sense of the term) so you had a choice: Either change your mind or continue believing what you do despite all evidence to the contrary. You chose the latter. This meant that you could either ignore us altogether (like most do) but you are just a little bit too intellectually curious for that (not curious enough to change your mind though) which meant you needed to find enough obscure and trivial deficiencies in our arguments for you to convince yourself that we don’t have sufficient credibility and you are therefore better off sticking with the status quo. So you changed tack and stopped trying to persuade us why you were right and instead told us that the onus of proof was on us and we were duty bound to convince you. Needless to say, no matter what we provided it was never enough. In order to find these trivial deficiencies in our arguments you desperately clutched at straws so that when Meryl posted this story, instead of coming to the sensible conclusion that measles diagnoses are much lower now as a result of lab diagnosis rather than clinical ones you came to the conclusion that this somehow proved that doctors themselves have no bias and that therefore every single statistic relating to the fall in these diseases can be trusted with absolute confidence! As though if the bias is caused by bureaucratic edict just as much if not more so than diagnostic error this somehow makes the stats reliable! But of course the straw you clutch the tightest of all is the fact that the authorities agree with you and they would never make such an enormous mistake. Would they?

  10. punter,

    > please explain this. In Africa, for the past few decades (depends on
    > the individual country – but more or less in line with when these
    > countries became independent) life expectancy has fallen as these
    > nations have fallen behind in terms of income, nutrition,
    > sanitation, emergency care etc. However, at the same time they
    > have, through the provision of aid, had plenty of access to
    > vaccinations. In other words Africa represents a ‘control’ of a
    > region with plenty of vaccinations but no improvement in living
    > standards and it has seen massive falls in life expectancy along
    > with its falls in standards of living. In other words it is living
    > standards, not vaccinations, that are the key to longer lives.

    There you go turning everything into black and white again. Black and white by saying that it must be EITHER living standards OR vaccines that affect life expectancy, and also black and white by presuming that the ONLY reason to vaccinate is to avoid death, rather than just avoiding sickness and suffering.

    Why does lower life expectancy due to poor living standards imply that vaccines aren’t helping? You would need to keep living standards constant to do that.

    This is just another vague correlation that suits your world-view.

    You also make no attempt to see why people are dying. Are they dying of the diseases they’ve been vaccinated against? Of course not. They are dying in largest numbers due to AIDS and tuberculosis. You seem to think it a failing of vaccines for other diseases that these diseases aren’t also prevented?

    Here’s an article about it. No mention of anyone dying of measles etc.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1814609.stm

    And when did I ever say that nutrition, sanitation etc would not influence life expectancy? I’ve already stated the exact opposite. It’s why the death graphs are not so useful for measuring vaccine effectiveness: too much noise from other factors.

    > (Of course the church of poisoning and disfigurement

    ??? Um, is this what you call science now?

    > comes up with the magical AIDS virus to explain all this – because
    > it makes perfect sense that a disease that can only affect
    > homosexuals and intravenous drug users in the Western world and for
    > which has been shown is impossible to transmit heterosexually can
    > affect every man and his dog in Africa.

    Ha, whoa, where did that come from. Impossible to transmit AIDS heterosexually?? You’ll need to provide a reference to the “proof”. A quick search shows indeed that this belief is part of the AIDS-denial toolkit. Here are a couple of references refuting that claim:

    http://www.skepdic.com/aidsdenial.html
    http://www.aidstruth.org/denialism/misuse/padian
    http://www.aidstruth.org/science/studies

    I don’t want to get into an AIDS debate though. Lets stick to vaccines on this site.

    > And BTW, just how many times and in how many different ways are you
    > going to try and persuade us with an appeal to authority?

    I think this might be another one of your black and white issues. You seem to believe that it is NEVER OK to consider any information from anyone other than yourself as reliable. In order to advance, yes we have to build upon out existing knowledge-base. There are scientists constantly questioning everything within science, but also building upon what we already know. It’s not humanly possible for one person to question every part of existing knowledge upon which they wish to build, but this does not mean that some parts have gone unquestioned. Science works. It’s not always perfect because it’s a human endeavour, but at its core it tries hard to expunge human error and subjective interpretation, and encourages people to question all of its premises.

    Science doesn’t pass down made-up doctrine from on-high, as you seem to believe. When you understand the process, you’ll understand why it has been so successful.

  11. “But this just makes sense. What they’re saying is that you are likely to get more false positives if the thing you’re testing for is extremely rare (or indeed non-existent).”

    Yes but Robert, you see, from my perspective small pox isn’t rare and the belief that it is is completely unfounded. Let me be absolutely clear about this so you understand what the CDC document says.

    You can have pox. You can die from pox. You can test positive for the small pox virus (variola). And even then, unless the CDC can verify for itself (or the WHO) that you have a serious fever, it still will consider that you almost certainly do not have small pox.

    From my perspective what the article makes clear is that the WHO and the CDC take seriously any threat to their reputations if it became known that small pox actually existed. But that is probably just the conspiracy theorist in me.

    I realise that you have never asked any questions about this whole paradigm until you came on here but here is another question you might like to ponder. How did the authorities know that they had eradicated small pox? According to their ridiculous germ theory it is possible to have the germs and no symptoms. So, in order to make the claim that small pox was eradicated, they would have to test every single person on the earth with a test that they know to be highly suspect. Indeed they know that it actually does confirm a lot of (false) positives so if they did this test for the entire population they would see lots of people with small pox. So how did they know it was eradicated?

    They. Make. It. All. Up.

    Oh, and what Greg said about the diagnostic thing for measles.

  12. Rob

    It’s funny how we can all look at an article and see different things. The piece above claiming that doctors have been diagnosing measles wrongly 97% of the time is, to me, a glaring example of the changing methods of diagnosis. We used to diagnose clinically. Now we use laboratories. The two methods don’t gel well.

    In this case the researcher took a collection of measles cases that were diagnosed “clinically” and subjected them to lab scrutiny. Presto! Nearly all of them disappeared.

    To me it demonstrates the weakness of the germ theory. i.e. the correlation between clinical illness and virus was very poor.

    It also shows us how diseases “fall” when we introduce lab facilities and start requiring that doctors use them. All of a sudden cases that would have previously been recorded as measles are tested and found to be free of evidence of the virus. So they get called something else. And notifications of the disease plummet.

    This is precisely what happened with polio. When lab confirmation was required (from the late 1950s onward) cases plummeted. A lot of people point to this as evidence of the polio vaccine effect (I believe you’re one of these, Rob).

    Regarding developing countries we see notifications of measles going down wildly and rubella going up wildly after lab facilities are set up. This is purely the influence of the labs. If you see WHO reports of measles surveillance you will see X “suspected measles” cases reported and 90% of them “discarded”. This is the lab doing its thing. A good proportion of the discarded cases are re-diagnosed as rubella.

    The same thing is happening with polio in developing countries as they set up labs. X cases are reported (labeled “AFP” to distinguish them from the new lab-confirmed cases) then the lab goes to work and discards 90% or more of them because there’s no evidence of the polio virus. What’s left gets called polio.

    Then the Robs come in and tell us there’s been a 90% drop in polio this year. :-) And we have to explain to them why that is. :-) Again. :-) And again. :-)

    Once again, notification data really sucks as an indicator of illness trends. Lots of pitfalls. A change in method of diagnosing measles resulted in a 97% drop in measles in this case.

  13. Oh and another thing. Given that you love official statistics so much can you please explain this. In Africa, for the past few decades (depends on the individual country – but more or less in line with when these countries became independent) life expectancy has fallen as these nations have fallen behind in terms of income, nutrition, sanitation, emergency care etc. However, at the same time they have, through the provision of aid, had plenty of access to vaccinations. In other words Africa represents a ‘control’ of a region with plenty of vaccinations but no improvement in living standards and it has seen massive falls in life expectancy along with its falls in standards of living. In other words it is living standards, not vaccinations, that are the key to longer lives. (Of course the church of poisoning and disfigurement comes up with the magical AIDS virus to explain all this – because it makes perfect sense that a disease that can only affect homosexuals and intravenous drug users in the Western world and for which has been shown is impossible to transmit heterosexually can affect every man and his dog in Africa. Also, AIDS is supposedly common in parts of Asia but amongst Asian Americans it is exceedingly rare – make sense of that one if you can.) At any rate the point stands, take away the trappings of wealth and there is no evidence that vaccinations benefit anybody.

    And BTW, just how many times and in how many different ways are you going to try and persuade us with an appeal to authority? I realise that telling yourself that institutions would never systematically make mistakes helps you sleep at night – but if you are doing it for our benefit it really isn’t worth the effort.

  14. > Just because Meryl posts something doesn’t mean I believe it Rob.

    No, indeed I expect you won’t believe any evidence that doesn’t go your way.

    > The point of the post was to show that there is a lot of ambiguity
    > in disease prevalence statistics. I fail to see how that in any way
    > diminishes my argument that there is a lot of ambiguity in disease
    > prevalence statistics.

    It doesn’t just show ambiguity. It shows the error to be in a particular direction. That direction is opposite to what your hypothesis requires.

    > You came up with the stats first remember. I said that they had a
    > massive problem – ie they had bias. I never said what quantum that
    > bias was merely that it was a massive problem for your side.

    The notification graphs consistently show a dramatic drop within a few years of a vaccine being released. For this to be entirely due to a bias or other error in doctors’ diagnoses, you require this bias to be widespread and very strong, an almost universal change within a few years. You require the bias to be very strong in one direction, ie you require doctors to under-diagnose by an order of magnitude. Meryl’s stat in this article shows the exact opposite of what you require, that doctors over-diagnos measles.

    > I am not going to go back in time and do a full psych evaluation of
    > every single doctor for the past 200 years to determine their biases
    > when it comes to diagnosing these diseases. Nor am I going to look
    > through every single file amongst every single health bureaucracy to
    > see when they made or changed their edicts on how doctors were
    > allowed to make diagnoses, nor am I going to trawl through millions
    > of stats of supposedly vaccine preventable diseases and their
    > substitutes to make sure that every single piece of data is
    > consistent with my line.

    No one asked you to do any of these things, but some kind of evidence that doctors are under-diagnosing by an order of magnitude should be a bare minimum for anyone to take your hypothesis seriously. Simply stating that there must be a bias because doctors believe vaccines to be effective is not enough. That falls into your “making things up” category.

    > I have given the names of the substitute diseases so you can see
    > where those original diseases might well be hiding, nothing else I
    > can give you would be of any benefit because I couldn’t possibly
    > provide an explanation for every single case.

    The names are a good start. No one’s denying that some diseases have similar symptoms, so it’s an easy list to compile, and nothing new there. What’s required for this to be anything other than speculation is a look at the notification data for both the old and supposedly new replacement diseases. If you’re right, one should clearly take over from the other. I’d like to see this for at least two diseases, where the vaccines were introduced at significantly different times. Some reason you seem to think it’s up to me to provide the evidence for your hypothesis, but your the one trying to overturn 150 years of medical science. You’re the one in the minority (even if not in this niche forum), so it’s up to you to find evidence to support your idea. I don’t even know how you can be so sure of your own speculation without even a hint of data to back you up.

    > If you can’t quantify the bias then you just can’t use the stats as
    > any sort of evidence. Showing me the bias isn’t always there or
    > always particularly strong (or even that it sometimes runs the other
    > way) says nothing because I need to know the strength of bias when
    > the relevant data is being compiled. You don’t need to quantify the
    > bias in all cases, even one would be a massive boost for you guys,

    I’m not sure what you mean by “I need to know the strength of bias when the relevant data is being compiled”.

    As far as quantifying the “bias”, I did some research into Meryl’s stat above and was led to this:

    http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733811358

    This shows that doctors are consistently over-diagnosing measles, with only between about 0.3% and 27.1% being confirmed. I admit it surprises me that they are wrong so often. You’re right that there are diseases with similar symptoms to measles, but this table tells us a couple of things. First, it confirms that the number of true cases of measles is very small, indeed significantly smaller than those diagnosed. This is as we should expect in the post-vaccine era. Second, rather than doctors being biased against diagnosing measles, they are in fact still diagnosing these other measles-look-alikes as measles too. As far as keeping track of measles goes, we should be more worried if most of the notifications were confirmed, because this would imply there may be other cases going missing. Measles was once common-place, but now an outbreak of measles is taken seriously and is practically news-worthy. If anything, doctors are MORE likely to be on the look-out for measles because it’s a serious matter if one pops up.

    I also had it explained to me that this apparent over-diagnosing is apparently typical post-vaccine and a well-known phenomenon. Look at it this way. Once maybe 1 in 3 people got measles, and maybe there were 5000 cases per year of other diseases which look similar to measles and for incorrectly diagnosed as measles. That would have been a very small percentage error. Now there are very few cases of measles, but still 5000 cases that look similar, so if doctors still diagnose all of these as measles, they end up only being right in a small percentage of cases. The number of incorrect diagnoses stays the same, but the percentage when compared to correct diagnoses goes way up. In other words, these figures make sense if doctors have NOT introduced a bias into their diagnoses.

    > http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/smallpox.pdf.
    > Read the whole thing but in particular: “In the absence of smallpox
    > (disease prevalence of zero), the predictive value of a positive
    > laboratory test is extremely low (close to zero).” (p.290)

    But this just makes sense. What they’re saying is that you are likely to get more false positives if the thing you’re testing for is extremely rare (or indeed non-existent).

    > And here is a specific example of where the local authorities
    > diagnosed small pox but the World Health Organisation overruled
    > them.
    >
    > http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/news/2-international-news/962-who-rules-out-smallpox-outbreak-in-eastern-uganda.html
    > and this
    >
    > “Since [small pox was allegedly eradicated], Hartl said, the
    > organization has seen a small number of false suspected cases.”
    > http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/health1/who-investigating-reported-smallpox-outbreak-in-eastern-uganda-update_100339287.html

    Both articles appear to be about the same case. The articles make it pretty clear that the WHO take possible cases of smallpox very seriously. They travelled to the scene and tested the supposed cases themselves to be sure what it was, and their results confirmed that it was NOT smallpox. I don’t even know why you’re linking to these. I presume you think these are an example of “bias”, but what they show is that possible cases are taken very seriously and tested thoroughly. Do you have some kind of insight that these cases really were smallpox? This is simply an example of over-diagnosis by the local doctors, and we should all be happy that this still happens, as it means any real cases are unlikely to slip through.

    > …but your totalitarian spirit won’t die and you still feel the
    > need to force your beliefs down my throat.

    Ha, um, ok.

    > What I have provided already is vastly more than what is needed to
    > persuade any objective rational observer…

    All I can say is how it looks from this end, and from here all I’ve seen is hand-waving speculation and anecdotes. Yes, you’ve written a lot about what your speculation is, but you haven’t provided any data to back it up.

    > I have already said you can test the theory out for yourself by
    > walking into two different doctors’ offices with polio symptoms…
    > …But you won’t.

    Er, yes, you’re right, I’m not going to walk into two doctors’ offices feigning symptoms of polio. Funny that.

  15. And here is a specific example of where the local authorities diagnosed small pox but the World Health Organisation overruled them.

    http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/news/2-international-news/962-who-rules-out-smallpox-outbreak-in-eastern-uganda.html and this

    “Since [small pox was allegedly eradicated], Hartl said, the organization has seen a small number of false suspected cases.” http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/health1/who-investigating-reported-smallpox-outbreak-in-eastern-uganda-update_100339287.html

    So don’t tell me my claims are baseless. I have spent an unbelievable amount of time justifying my beliefs to you – but your totalitarian spirit won’t die and you still feel the need to force your beliefs down my throat. What I have provided already is vastly more than what is needed to persuade any objective rational observer who isn’t instinctively wedded to the herd mentality (ie around 1 per cent of the population). I have already said you can test the theory out for yourself by walking into two different doctors’ offices with polio symptoms and telling one you are fully vaccinated and never left Australia and telling the other you have never been vaccinated and just came back from Pakistan. But you won’t. That is fine by me but you have a lot of nerve turning around and telling me my claims are baseless.

  16. Just because Meryl posts something doesn’t mean I believe it Rob. The point of the post was to show that there is a lot of ambiguity in disease prevalence statistics. I fail to see how that in any way diminishes my argument that there is a lot of ambiguity in disease prevalence statistics.
    You came up with the stats first remember. I said that they had a massive problem – ie they had bias. I never said what quantum that bias was merely that it was a massive problem for your side. They are your stats, there is a bias there. If you want to continue using them then you have to quantify the bias and show that despite the bias the stats still show what you think they show.

    I am not going to go back in time and do a full psych evaluation of every single doctor for the past 200 years to determine their biases when it comes to diagnosing these diseases. Nor am I going to look through every single file amongst every single health bureaucracy to see when they made or changed their edicts on how doctors were allowed to make diagnoses, nor am I going to trawl through millions of stats of supposedly vaccine preventable diseases and their substitutes to make sure that every single piece of data is consistent with my line. I have given the names of the substitute diseases so you can see where those original diseases might well be hiding, nothing else I can give you would be of any benefit because I couldn’t possibly provide an explanation for every single case.

    So sorry, the ball is your court. If you can’t quantify the bias then you just can’t use the stats as any sort of evidence. Showing me the bias isn’t always there or always particularly strong (or even that it sometimes runs the other way) says nothing because I need to know the strength of bias when the relevant data is being compiled. You don’t need to quantify the bias in all cases, even one would be a massive boost for you guys, and if the results still say what you want them to say then voila! You actually have some robust evidence!

    So it is up to you to make the case not me. But I will give you this though: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/smallpox.pdf. Read the whole thing but in particular: “In the absence of smallpox (disease prevalence of zero), the predictive value of a positive laboratory test is extremely low (close to zero).” (p.290) In case you don’t understand what they mean it is that unless the CDC decide that you could potentially be in a position to have small pox based on their prior beliefs, then you don’t. No matter what the tests say.
    Comprenez?
    They. Make. It. All. Up.

  17. Meryl, (in reply to comment 4204)

    I didn’t mention antibiotics in particular. There are all sorts of better medical treatments and better care in general, incremental improvements in procedures over the years.

    I don’t know whether reported death rates are more accurate at measuring deaths than reported infection rates are at measuring infections (you haven’t provided any evidence for that claim). But even if they are, we both know that a much lower percentage of the people who DO catch measles die today than did 100 years ago, so death rates just don’t correspond to infection rates when we look back that far.

    Sorry about the link, it appears that WordPress decided to include the enclosing bracket as part of the link. This one will work:

    http://www.iayork.com/MysteryRays/2009/09/02/measles-deaths-pre-vaccine/

    Why does starting at 1950 tell us nothing? The effect of the vaccine is incredibly clear in those graphs. So what if there had been an earlier drop for other reasons? You can’t just dismiss such an obvious effect by saying it doesn’t go back far enough, while accepting Dr. Obomsawin’s graph which threw away 93% of the data points to get the shape he wanted. Posting another death graph won’t help because you’re not comparing apples with apples. By all means post a graph of infections that goes back 100 years and includes all data points.

    If Australia had a gap in reporting, then don’t use graphs from Australia. The US or UK probably have better data.

  18. [First post went missing, so trying again]

    I’ve done some research into this news snippet from 12 years ago. Maybe more on that later.

    For now, I’ll just point out that the figure of 97.5% of measles being misdiagnosed basically buries punter’s idea that doctors’ “bias” causes them to under-report diseases once a vaccine comes out. Far from under-reporting, this figure clearly shows that they are actually OVER-reporting. Diseases with measles-like symptoms are STILL being diagnosed as measles along with other diseases. It doesn’t look good for punter’s already baseless claims of strong doctor bias.

    Helen,

    > Instead of “germs cause disease” it should be “disease causes germs”

    So what causes disease?

    Do you see any reason to wash your hands (other than looking nice)?

    What about covering food to keep it fresh?

    As with all new science, the germ theory was not easily accepted in its day (150 years ago). It only became accepted gradually as the weight of evidence made it harder to deny and other theories of the day failed to agree with observation.

  19. Susan before you go may I suggest you read Janine Roberts “Fear of the Invisible” not sure if its available in local libraries but is from AVN Shop.
    You come across as a very reasonable person & I am sure you will find it interesting.

  20. It’s hard to know what aspect of punter’s message to “answer”. Firstly, you have it wrong about any associations of mine – you mention “you guys” but I am not part of any association of group relating to this area. I came across this website, and I am only trying explore the logic that is used by people who oppose vaccination. I have not insulted anyone and I have not asked anyone to provide proof. While I am sceptical about many things, I am not part of any group of “skeptics” with a “k”.

    The only firm question you have posed is this:
    What particular phenomena would, if true, be sufficient to show that vaccinations either don’t work or are not worth the price.

    The answer to this question can’t apply to all vaccines, because they are all different, and all have to be judged individually.

    For each vaccine, if the test group receiving the vaccine does not have a significantly lower rate of contracting the disease, or if the cost is so astronomical that it is not affordable on a large scale, then that vaccine should not be recommended.

    There are many, many examples that would fit these criteria. For example, there is no available vaccine for HIV yet because nobody has yet developed one that is effective in preventing the disease. The same goes for malaria, some sob-types of meningococcus. It’s not that nobody is trying – but what they have come up with so far have not been effective – so they are not used.

    As far as the causation of infectious disease by microorganisms goes, the evidence of causation is provided by finding active multiplying organisms in the blood stream or infected area of a patient.

    I’m not sure there is anything else in Punter’s message that I can usefully respond to. He says that you “have honour and integrity and we value debate” but the whole tenor of the message contradicts this. I have not said that any particular group of people are “not worth debating.” What I said was that, if someone did not accept the entire premise of the western clinical sciences, (quoting Punter “virtually nothing “clinical” actually exists and what little does certainly isn’t “science”) then there is no purpose in the exchange of evidence, because an opponent would just automatically dismiss it.

    As you suggest, I will leave you alone.

  21. “I can’t see the logic in these doctors and nurses being blind about some aspects of pathophysiology but effective in others.”

    So your entire argument – such as it is – rests on the assumption that it is absolutely inconceivable for an individual or group of individuals to be right about one thing and wrong about another.

    If I were you I would recant right now.

    The fact that we often support emergency medicine to some degree but not vaccines simply proves that we, unlike you, look at evidence rather than authority. We don’t have an intrinsic hatred for science nor do we believe that doctors are intrinsically evil, we just look at the evidence and make our own conclusions. In the case of emergency medicine the evidence suggests that a lot of it is worthwhile – not necessarily all of it, but a lot of it. In the case of vaccines the evidence suggests that it is catastrophically stupid.

    There are no shortages in history of intelligent people supporting monstrously stupid ideas. Vaccinations are one of them. Communism, fascism, chemotherapy, virgin sacrifice and witch-burning are others.

    But thanks for telling me that you “guess” that it is my right to believe in certain things – I “guess” that relative to the totalitarian views of most of your “skeptic” comrades that makes you a champion of liberalism.

    And I haven’t thrown out any “clinical science” I have shown that virtually nothing “clinical” actually exists and what little does certainly isn’t “science”.

    But I will ask you a question to demonstrate the intellectual poverty of the vaccination paradigm. What particular phenomena would, if true, be sufficient to show that vaccinations either don’t work or are not worth the price. You can do the same for the germ theory. If you can’t then I will conclude that neither is falsifiable and you can stop calling your ridiculous beliefs “scientific” – clinical or otherwise.

    And by the way, you guys are the ones trying to persuade us that our opinions are flawed and we should, for the good of the children, stop. If you want to just leave us alone then we won’t complain. Unlike you “skeptics” we have honour and integrity and we value debate which is why you guys are allowed to comment here but people like me are invariably banned from your sites. However, I just don’t see the point in you coming on here and telling us that we are not worth debating. If that is the case go back to the giggling schoolkids at the SAVN where you know that everybody will agree with everybody and tell them how crazy we all are.

    And the best part is you won’t have to do any thinking.

    • Hi Punter,
      I hope that your questions will be answered. I for one am really tired of skeptics asking me to provide proof whilst they just spout beliefs. For a group that claims to revere science, they do seem to revel in superstition and thoughtless acceptance of whatever they are told without questioning anything.

  22. Punter,

    It’s good to hear that there is an area of modern medicine that isn’t founded entirely on fraud, as you say.

    Can you explain to me what is the difference in foundation and principles between emergency medicine and other aspects of western medicine? Don’t nurses and doctors who work in emergency medicine have the same basic training in the clinical sciences as other clinicians?

    I had understood that one of the mainstays of emergency medicine is the use of antibiotics, as well as vaccination for tetanus for people with dirty wounds. I can’t see the logic in these doctors and nurses being blind about some aspects of pathophysiology but effective in others. What would motivate them to be like this?

    I know many nurses who work in both acute and primary care – I haven’t seen too many who are either brainwashed or bribed by drug companies.

    It’s one thing to question various aspects of vaccination – quite another thing to throw out a whole body of clinical science. You have every right not to believe it, I guess, but then there’s not much purpose for an exchange of evidence or discussion.

  23. Agree with punter, the germ theory of disease makes no sense at all.

    Instead of “germs cause disease” it should be “disease causes germs”.

  24. Thanks Susan, that puts it all to rest. We should just trust the government and its bureaucracies to protect us and tell us the truth. I feel better already! Oh and by the way, where exactly are those WMDs in Iraq that every single one of the world’s military experts (who aren’t that high earners that many people are wary of) absolutely guaranteed us would be there in astonishing quantities? Hahahahahahaha!!!!!

    Thank you for displaying for all to see the astonishing group think that takes place in orthodox medicine.

    And why would you try to explain to me that there is a difference between syndromes and organisms? I don’t believe in the germ theory you see so I am of the opinion that the Hib meningitis is the same as any other disease with the same symptoms. I don’t think the germ has anything to do with the cause of the disease (although bacteria have a role in the healing). I acknowledge that death rates may be lower today (in case you haven’t been following I am not one to mindlessly trust stats – even when they come from the ever-caring, all-knowing government) but that could just be emergency medicine doing its thing (the one area of modern medicine that isn’t founded entirely on fraud).

  25. Thanks, Shotinfo

    Again, I will have to disagree. Bacterial meningitis is definitely less common than it was – the HiB cases have virtually disappeared. Pneumococcal and meningococcal cases have not increased to fill a “vacuum” – there are just less cases overall.

    We have not seen a dramatic fall in pneumococcal infection because the vaccination is not widespread. However, it is used almost universally in people who have lost their spleen (whether through trauma or disease), and has saved many lives in that group, who used to die from overwhelming infection with a relatively benign organism.

    Again, we need to understand the difference between syndromes and infective organisms. Pneumococcus is a very common micro-organism – it is commonly the cause of pneumonia (hence the name “pneumo” – meaning lung). Most infections with pneumococcus do not cause meningitis, or other life-threatening disease. The problem is that it CAN.

    As far as meningococcus goes, unfortuantely there haven’t been vaccines developed yet against the most common strains that cause meningitis. This is the reason why health professionals have to be so careful in checking children with high fevers, and treating with antibiotics if it is suspected.

    The logic of using widespread vaccination is not that it is 100% effective, (though it’s very effective), and not that the diseases prevented are 100% fatal (they definitely are not). The idea is that, by preventing infection in the vast majority of people, we can prevent that rare incidence of infection by that organism causing severe illness in a few, in death in rare cases.

    Epidemiology is a comple science that requires extensive training and expertise, including in statistical methods as well as health sciences. It’s not easy for all of us to understand complex epidemiological data. That’s why we realy on public health professionals. Of all health professionals, they must have the least amount of vested interests – they are not the high earners or high prescribers that many people are wary of.

  26. Anyone heard of Europe Today? The short quote is interesting but we need more detail. Is the full article available anywhere? Or more importantly, the study that it refers to?

    As has been pointed out by many, death rates are NOT a good indication of how a disease declines. They are a good indication of how well we are able to TREAT disease after someone has it. Yes, deaths dropped significantly before the vaccine because of many other medical advances that helped people to recover from the disease. It does not indicate that less people had the disease.

    So ideally we want the infection rates. So are these to be trusted? There’s a nice graph here that makes it seem they can:

    http://www.iayork.com/Images/2009/3-31-09/Measles.jpg

    (source: http://www.iayork.com/MysteryRays/2009/09/02/measles-deaths-pre-vaccine/)

    This graph shows both infection and death rates, both clearly plummeting after the vaccine, and both in step with each other almost year by year. Clearly doctors were generally diagnosing just as well before as after death.

    > for many diseases, the criteria for being diagnosed with
    > the illness includes not having received the vaccine

    Really? Can you give me a reference to information confirming this? Since doctors know perfectly well that no vaccine is 100% effective there’s no reason to rule out such diseases.

    Thanks,
    Rob.

    • Hi Robert,
      I would say that if the death rates for bacterial illnesses such as pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus started to fall AFTER the introduction of antibiotics, you might have a point in saying that better treatments were involved. But the fact is that antibiotics were not used until after the end of WWII – I believe that most of them weren’t really being prescribed until the early to mid 1950s so there is no reason to say that treatments were involved in the decline in deaths from these diseases. For the viral illnesses, there were no treatments available (other than antibiotics for secondary infections which again didn’t happen until the 1950s) so I stand by my statement that death rates are a far better guage than incidence due to the availability of pathology reports.

      With the graphs you have presented, the second link (measles deaths pre vaccine) is going to a page not found. The first link starts in 1950 which tells us nothing. I will post up graphs for measles starting 100 years ago and you will see that once again, the deaths had declined by over 99% PRIOR to the introduction of the measles vaccine.

      In Australia, measles incidence was not tracked for a period of about 20 years prior to 1989 so we have no incidence figures for that period – death rates is the only way in which to gauge the decline in measles and to be honest, as a mum, I didn’t really care if my kids got measles (the all did including the one who was vaccinated against it) because I knew that growing up, everyone I knew had it and nobody died and it gives life-long immunity as opposed to the vaccine which gives a temporary sensitisation at best. Most parents, if given the information about the real risks of measles disease (not the figures from developing countries where children are vitamin A deficient and live in poor conditions), and the effectiveness and risks of the MMR vaccine would, I believe, choose measles over the vaccine. That’s just my opinion however and it is a choice I would have made for my son had I known about these facts before vaccinating him and having him end up in hospital 10 days later.

  27. Punter,
    It’s important to understand the difference between syndromes and organisms. The term “meningitis” refers to an infection involving the linings of the brain (“meninges”). It can be caused by a range of organisms, including viruses (mostly a milder disease) and a wide range of bacteria. HiB immunisation (Haemophilus B) has led to a virtual disappearance of the syndromes caused by infection by that organisam – including meningitis and epiglottitis. However, other organisms still cause meningitis, including the various strains of meningococcus and pneumococcus, and, or course, a range of viruses.

    Meningitis overall is much less common than it once was, and deaths are, thankfully, now rare. However, the nature of the press and our high expectations mean that we now hear about every suspected case. So, paradoxically, while meningitis deaths are now rare we are now more scared of it than ever before. It’s because we just aren’t used to deaths in childhood from infectious diseases any more (which our parents were).

    • Hi Susan,
      Meningitis is NOT necessarily less common then it once was – at least not according to the Australian government figures. The vaccine for Hib (the first vaccine against a bacterial form of meningitis) was introduced in 1992 in Australia. Prior to that, Hib was not even reportable. Yes, there was a decline in the form of Hib that was contained in the vaccine, but the other forms actually showed an increase. I am unsure if the figures reported by the NNDSS on invasive Hib disease include all forms of Hib or only the form contained in the vaccine. If you know, please do let me know.

      At the time that the Hib vaccine was introduced, Hib was easily treatable by antibiotics if caught on time. Pneumococcal and Meningococcal meningitis were both antibiotic resistant and much more difficult to treat. What we saw in many other countries around the world where figures for both pneumococcal and meningococcal invasive disease was available from before the introduction of the Hib vaccine, was an increase in the rates of both pneumococcal and meningococcal meningitis after the introduction of the Hib shot. Nature hates a vacuum.

      Not only that, but there has been no real decline in the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease since the introduction of their respective vaccines (NNDSS only started tracking pneumococcal in 2001 when the vaccine was introduced. In 2001, there were 1713 cases Australia-wide. There seems to be a natural 4-5 year cycle of these diseases but we have gone as high as 2428 two years after the vaccine was introduced and so far in 2010, we have had 1359 cases reported. I do not show that the vaccination has done anything to cause a decline in pneumococcal.

      With meningococcal, the situation is similar. NNDSS was tracking this since its inception in 1991. That year, there were 349 cases of invasive meningococcal disease. It has gone as high as 687 cases in 2002 but has not shown any obvious decline after the introduction of the vaccine.

      What is annoying is that I can’t seem to find any figures for the overall incidence of bacterial meningitis in Australia though this information is available from the US and the UK – does anyone have access to this data?

  28. Pingback: Lies, damned lies and statistics « The Invisible Opportunity: Hidden Truths Revealed

  29. Interesting discussions with people holding inflexible views for the most part.

    Meningitis is very close to what is known in older times as polio.

    Polio is a virus with normally no known clinical symptoms.

    Almost beneficial for man as it has been alongside man for thousands of years.

    But if you look you will find the possibilty that meningitis is the adverse effects of vaccines.

    All very iffy but it is a hypothesis that fits facts.

    I liked the virgin sacrifice story which fits in well with VAERS data showing the sacrifice normally occurs at the third strike and rarely after the first strike.

  30. Interesting discussions with people holding inflexible views for the most part.

    Meningitis is very close to what is known in older times as polio.

    Polio is a virus with normally no known clinical symptoms.

    Almost beneficial for man as it has been alongside man for thousands of years.

    But if you look you will find the possibilty that meningitis is the adverse effects of vaccines.

    All very iffy but it is a hypothesis that fits facts.

    I liked the virgin sacrifice story which fits in well with VAERS data showing the sacrifice normally occurs at the third strike and rarely after the first strike.

  31. ozmum, you will note that every time they vaccinate against the Hib strain of bacterial meningitis doctors keep on finding that, lo and behold, a brand new form of bacterial meningitis crops up out of nowhere and starts infecting large numbers of people instead http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/about/faq.html. Doctors just simply change the diagnosis: same disease, different term because doctors start off with the assumption that vaccines are effective and they view the world through that filter. If the disease falls then they declare that the vaccine is a miracle and it just goes to show that vaccines work and we should all get them. On the other hand if the disease doesn’t fall then it just goes to show we need more and different vaccines given more often to more people to ensure we really fix the disease this time.

    The best analogy of vaccine “science” is with a priest sacrificing virgins to make it rain. If he sacrificed her (he would generally rape her first) and it rained, the priest would say that it just proved that the sacrifice was worth it. On the other hand if he made the sacrifice and it still didn’t rain, the priest declared that that simply proved that the Gods were really angry, hence, even more virgins needed to be sacrificed. Many philosophers (particularly Karl Popper) have explained the need for falsifiability in science. Vaccines (just like the ritual of virgin sacrifice) don’t have that. They can never be falsified and they are therefore non-science. They are faith. (Of course the other reason virgin sacrifice is a good analogy with vaccines is the massive self-interest of the doctors/priests in the continuation of the paradigm).

  32. I have read Vaccination roulette but it was from a library so dont have a copy myself.Would appreciate seeing a copy of the scarlet fever graph if its not too much trouble.
    Rheumatic fever is a disease I remember my mother speaking of but I know nothing about it.Just wondered how it fits into the general story of infectious diseases.
    Also what is the history of tuberculosis vaccines or can you recommend some sources to look up for this information.
    Thanks for your tireless work.

  33. ShotInfo …yet again you do not inspire confidence in what you say as you get it so wrong. Notifiable diseases in Australia that make up the data for incidence rates are tested using the same tests that are used for reporting death rates. You mislead when you note that measles diagnoses are incorrect – that is DIAGNOSIS for treatment purporses and are often drawn by symptons (and treated symptomatically), not INCIDENCE rates as reported to government bodies and used for such things as judging the effectiveness of immunisation programs. If such vaccines programs are so ineffective, why is it that the incidence (and Death rate) of HiB has dropped so dramatically in Australia. Please don’t tell me it’s because of better water/treatment/hygiene – it hardly got that much better in the 1990’s compared to the 1980’s.

  34. Are there any stats on scarlet fever or rheumatic fever incidence/death rates? There has never been vaccines for these but they have completely disappeared it seems.Funny that whooping cough & measles are still with us however. Oh but thats because of the germ ridden tiny minority of unvaccinated out there.

    • Hi Helen,

      If you have a copy of vaccination roulette hanging around, there is a graph for scarlet fever (and there actually was a vaccine for it for a very short time but it was killing and injuring so many, it was quietly withdrawn from use…) and though we never used a vaccine for it in Australia, the decline in mortality parallels the decline for all of the other infectious diseases. Rhematic fever – not that I know of. I’m not sure when it became a reportable disease? If you can’t find the graphs for scarlet fever, let me know and I’ll see about getting a copy posted here – it is a good point that those diseases for which we vaccinate and those which we never vaccinated against show the same rate of decline.

  35. If physicians can not diagnose measles when someone is alive what makes you think they can diagnose the cause of death?

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